Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/469

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THE ECONOMIC OUTLOOK.

that the canal presents no insuperable obstacles, and that its completion is a question of time and money.

Addenda. — In a report dated September 1st, Señor Armero, agent of the Colombian Government, estimates the whole sum required to finish the canal at 3,012,495,400 francs, equal to $602,639,080. This fabulous sum he believes will be raised because so many millions are already sunk in the work, and half a million holders of stocks and bonds are interested, and the honor of France is at stake. But at the rate of progress so far attained the work can not be completed, nor can even the temporary canal, with locks, etc., now proposed by M. de Lesseps, be opened to traffic in 1889 or even in 1892, the year in which the concession terminates.

The proposed plan of M. de Lesseps is to excavate the 60 kilometres of lower elevations by present methods, and to form a lake of the 14 kilometres of central mass, to be reached on both the Pacific and the Atlantic sides by locks. By this means he proposes to finish the temporary canal by 1890 at a cost of 1,500,000,000 francs. The temporary canal completed, dredges will continue their work in the lake and gradually deepen the channel till a sea-level canal shall be formed from ocean to ocean.


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THE ECONOMIC OUTLOOK-PRESENT AND PROSPECTIVE.

By Hon. DAVID A. WELLS.

ECONOMIC DISTURBANCE SERIES, No. VIII.

PART I.

THE predominant feeling induced by a review and consideration of the numerous and complex economic changes and disturbances that have occurred since 1873 (as has been detailed in the foregoing papers of this series), is undoubtedly, in the case of very many persons, discouraging and pessimistic. What many think but hesitate to say, finds forcible expression in the following extract from a letter addressed to the writer by a large-hearted, sympathetic man, who is at the same time one of the best known of American journalists and leaders of public opinion. After referring to his great interest in the general subject, he says:

But what a deplorable and quite awful picture you suggest of the future! The wheel of progress is to be run over the whole human race and smash us all, or nearly all, to a monstrous flatness. I get np from the reading of the articles scared, and more satisfied than ever before that the true and wise course of every man is to get somewhere a piece of land, raise and make what he can for himself, and try thus to get out of the crushing process. It seems to me that what we call civilization is to degrade and incapacitate the mass of men and women; and how strange and incongruous a state it is. At the same time these masses of men are thrown out of their accustomed employments by the introduction or